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Protests around Belgium in support for culture sector

21:19 21/02/2021

Several thousand people took part in some 500 protest actions around Belgium on Saturday to show their support for the country's culture sector during the coronavirus shutdown.

The initiative, Still Standing for Culture, was marked in 120 towns and cities - including some creative interpretations of the coronavirus restrictions, such as Brussels' Cinema Nova rebranding itself as a museum.

"We informed the city of Brussels that we intended to open today, as a museum," a cinema spokesman said.

"Like everywhere, we are suffering. Here, we have about 20 staff and it can go up to 100 during festivals. More than half of them are in a very precarious situation. It is time to reopen, and quickly."

Organisers of the Esperanzah! festival created an artists' zoo in Floreffe abbey (Namur province), with the artists on display as endangered species.

Meanwhile, artists and performers delivered speeches on Place Sainte-Croix, outside the Flagey building in Ixelles.

They included the Dinant jazz guitarist Quentin Dujardin, who made headlines last week when he attempted to put on a series of concerts in a church, respecting the 15-person limit on religious services.

"We are as essential as transport or hairdressers," one of the participants said. "Culture is a human need."

Still Standing for Culture was organised on the World Day of Social Justice to call for a "rebalancing" of the coronavirus measures, in light of the improving figures.

Organisers criticised what they called "arbitrary policies" in the fight against coronavirus, "applied without public debate, by ministerial decree, without any time limitation".

Photo: Vincent Fifi/Belga

Written by The Bulletin



Let’s hope that the government has understood the message and will rapidly draw the right conclusions. In Madrid concerts, theatre are open - why not everywhere in Europe?

Feb 22, 2021 08:04